We caught up with Estrella prior to their gig at Mad Hatters, Inverness on the 24th of March, 2012.
Jim Gellatly described Estrella as “having the seeds in place for worldwide success!” and whilst this is still potential the album release of “Come Out to Play” has brought a great deal of anticipation.
How are you feeling about the impending release of your album “Come Out To Play” ?
Can’t wait! It has been a long time coming and it’s a really exciting time for us. Over the last year, we took time out to record the debut album and we’ve been fortunate to have worked alongside producer John T Sinclair (ex-keyboard player to Ozzy Osbourne and band member of Uriah Heep and The Cult) and British Sound Engineer, Ashley Howe (who has worked with bands such as Queen and Led Zeppelin). We gave the album the name, after one of the tracks on the album, it was written when we were living out in the Aberdeenshire countryside, it was a great time as we were writing our first album but as you can imagine we were miles from town, “Come Out To Play” was written by our lead singer Paul in the hope that people would come out and visit us (bringing lots of beer with them)! We gave the album that name because we want our fans to come to our gigs, hear our music and just have a great time with us when we head out on the road towards the end of May.
Who or what are the main influences on the band?
Estrella’s sound is primarily 70/80s infused rock – think Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Def Leppard – full of melody and riffs, thunderous beats and anthemic choruses. These bands not only influenced our musical approach but it’s also to do with their whole performance on stage and how they interacted with their fans. They just gave one hell of a show, we just want to bring some of that back to the people at our shows.
How do you feel about the rock scene in Scotland currently?
There’s some decent rock bands starting to get noticed and we’ve been discussing potential gig swaps and potentially tours with some of the bands which would be great. But we’d have to agree with Jim Gellatly from InDemand:Uncut when he was interviewed by InvernessGiGs recently, there is “too much po-faced indie” in Scotland and even in the UK (see Jim Gellatly talk to invernessGiGs). With bands like Deep Purple, Van Halen and Def Leppard back touring there’s still a huge market and even seems to be a resurgence for Classic Rock. Although we are 80’s influenced we hope our music brings a fresh new rock sound for today.
What re your thoughts about playing Mad Hatters and the bands that you are on with?
We’ve always enjoyed playing in Mad Hatters. Some of the first gigs we did as a band out-with our hometown were at this venue. So we’ve got great memories of Mad Hatters! It gave us a real taste of what it was like to play further afield and the desire to do shows throughout Scotland and really just to see where we could go from there. Steve Robertson has managed to get a great line-up for the night with Slim Mistress, The Lost and of course fellow Highland rockers Roadway! We’re really looking forward to it and we hope Inverness rock fans are too.
Recently you played a spate of acoustic gigs, what drew you to that approach, and do you see the band pursuing this in the future?
Initially we started taking part in open mic nights when we were not gigging, just to get out and about and jam with local musicians. However, we realised that doing these type of gigs was an excellent way to promote new releases and future gigs. This encouraged us to develop a strong acoustic set that can be played at open mics, acoustic nights, radio interviews and even busking! We’ve seen first hand the increase of fans attending a live show prior to seeing us at an acoustic gig somewhere. On that note we’ll definitely continue this approach and have even taken time to record an acoustic video which is to go on YouTube soon….
How important is it to your Highland pedigree and does it impact on your music or approach to music?
It’s really important to us as we are proud that we come from the Highlands and fans that have come to see an acoustic show, have expressed how much they’ve enjoyed it. It really goes down well too when we’ve played to people at the shows who have come from the USA, Canada and Europe. Playing acoustically just really adds another dimension to us as a band, we can play in smaller live music venues and it’s easy to do radio sessions where it would otherwise be impossible to perform. We mainly play acoustic versions of our own album tracks, just stripped down as apposed to the full live tracks and we sometimes do this in our live gigs just to mix things up a bit. It really just allows us to be more versatile in our musical approach. We are a bit different too because all four members of the band perform even our drummer Leo as he is a grade 8 guitarist!
Estrella play Mad Hatters supported by Slim Mistress, The Lost and Roadway on the 24th of March, 2012.